The State Department has denied American-born jazz artist Alvin Queen entry into the United States. Queen, who was a dual citizen of the US and Switzerland until 2016, will now be forced to miss his performance at a concert in Washington, DC, in November.
While the government claims that Queen was refused entry because his fingerprints matched an FBI file from 1967, the artist said that his only run-ins with the law include a DWI charge and a minor drug offense, which both resulted in not-guilty verdicts.
“Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me one bit,” Queen said in a statement. “I’ve spent months preparing for this concert. Dozens of others are also implicated in its planning. Funny thing, I gave up my US passport to make life simpler at tax time. I never dreamed I would one day be denied entry, and with such ridiculous reasoning. I am frankly disgusted to be disrespected in this way, after a half century devoted to music.”
The sixty-seven-year-old musician previously worked for the US State Department as a cultural ambassador and as a performer at the American International Jazz Day in Paris several years ago. In order to be granted permission to enter the US, Queen will need to apply for a wavier from Homeland Security.
Hosted by the French-American Cultural Foundation and the French Embassy in the US, the “Jazz Meets France” concert, honoring the Harlem Hellfighters, the African American soldiers who introduced American jazz to France during World War I, will take place at George Washington University on November 15.